That Shirt You Won't Throw Away

by Carson Helpdesk June 26, 2014

There comes a time when your shirts are on their last limb sleeve. You've given them the best life possible. They were worn to brunch with your favorite people, on hiking trips, camping, to parties, to concerts, random unexpected dips in the lake, painting (paint splatter happens), and then your dog chews a hole through the sleeve and you think, "ok, you've had a good life, shirt, but I gotta throw you out." BUT IT'S YOUR FAVORITE SHIRT! It may be old, gross, unwearable, but you just can't. So you don't. Then it sits, collecting dust. Yes, I had this problem. I've had a collection of old, trusty American Apparel shirts that have lasted me through many many years, and many great times. But when their time was up, I just didn't have the heart to toss them, not after all we've been through together! So I found a solution to my shirt-collecting/hoarding/sentimental problem. I figured out a way to upcycle them into a fresh way of wearing them, giving them a second life as a bracelet! Look, we all have them, even you. I'll give you a second to dig out your shirts you've been clinging to and not wearing. When you get back, let's make some bracelets! IMG_3720   Let's get started, shall we? 1. Gather your materials: A T-shirt. Scissors. Needle & Thread (or substitute with fabric glue). Heavy items to hold down your shirt strips (you'll see what I'm talking about in a moment..). Any bling you want to accessorize your bracelets with (optional. They are beautiful plain as well). 2. Cut. Yes cut! Your shirt into 6 strips. They should be about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long. You will end up cutting the length down to size later. IMG_3643 2. Arrange your strips under a heavy object. Of course we chose these beauuuuutiful candles because they were heavy enough to get the job done. (Totally not for product placement reasons...) IMG_3644 3. This is the part where I like to reference my basket weaving days....which were never. But I imagine if they ever existed, this process would be delightfully similar. You are going to start with the far right strip. Cross it over the strip directly to it's left, like so: IMG_3645 4. Continuing with the strip you started with from the far right, "weave" it under the second strip to it's left. Keep going over, under, over, under until you reach the far left side of the 6 strips. The process looks like this: IMG_3646IMG_3648 IMG_3649 5. Continue this with the next farthest strip on the right. Over, under, over, under. When you have made some progress it should look like this: IMG_3650 6. Weave until your hearts content, but remember, you are making a bracelet, so it doesn't really have to be that long so don't get too carried away. When you are finished with the weaving steps, you should have something that looks like this: IMG_3651 7. Take this masterpiece you have already created and wrap it around your wrist to measure the size you will need to make it. (This bracelet will stretch quite a bit, keep this in mind if you are making it for a friend...really once size fits most). Once you have found the start and end points on the bracelet, mark them with a pen. IMG_3652 DISCLAIMER: You do not need to have mad sewing skills to do the following steps. 8. Whip out that needle and thread. I chose white thread because my shirt is white. You won't see this part when you are finished so any color thread will work. Thread the needle, tie a knot at the end, and start sewing in and out along the line you marked with the pen. Your goal in this step is to simply make sure each strip stays in place and doesn't un-weave. Do this to both sides. IMG_3653 9. Cut the excess fabric on either end once you have sewed up the strips. IMG_3654 It should now look like this: IMG_3655 10. Fold your weaved strips to form your bracelet. Sew the two ends together. Again, no need to be professional here, it's simply just to hold them together. IMG_3656 11. Use a scrap rectangular piece of fabric for what I like to call the "invisible cloak". Really it's going to hide the two end pieces and give you that clean, professional look. I used a piece from the excess I chopped off in step 9. You will take this piece and wrap it around the point where you sewed the two end pieces together. For this step I would use either a clear thread, or same color thread as your shirt. (which may be multicolored, maybe you are using several shirts, in which case, I would use clear)....OR you could substitute fabric glue for your thread in this step. I personally trust thread better than glue, but it's completely up to you. IMG_3657IMG_3658   Now it's time to sit back and behold the beautiful new life you have just created for your old trusty t shirt. You can enjoy it for many more years to come as an addition to your accessories, while feeling good about not actually throwing it away! IMG_3661   NOTE: You can add beads, chains, charms, you name it, to your bracelets. It's up to you! For the jazzed up ones above I simply sewed the beads on once I was finished, and with the chain, I sewed it along with that first strip you start with, through the whole weaving process. Get creative! We would love to see the wonderful creations you come up with. Post them to the comments below, or to our Facebook page. And don't forget to follow us on Instagram & Twitter!

Carson Helpdesk
Carson Helpdesk

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